How to harvest cut flowers
Either cut in the morning when the stems are turgid or in the evening when they are full of sugars and they will cope better with the disturbance. Think about the plant and try to take flowers evenly, particularly if it is a plant in a garden bed you don’t want to ruin your garden display.
Use a sharp/clean pair of scisscors or secateurs and cut just below a leaf node at a slight angle. Strip away the leaves that will be below the water line in the vase, these leaves will decay, make the water cloudy and promote bacterial growth). It is best to place flowers in clean water as soon as cut. The vase should be cleaned, use bleach to kill off any harmful bacteria.
To keep flowers looking at their best change water daily or at least regularly and trim the bottom off each stem to ensure they can continue to take up water. There are commercial flower preservatives that can be used in the water that keep the plants fed and the water clear or use a couple of drops of bleach and a teaspoon of sugar. To ensure continued flowering it is best to keep flowers away from direct sunlight or radiators. Ideal places are a cool windowsill that doesn’t get direct sunlight or a table that is in a relatively cool room.
Other varieties that can be picked from garden
- Euphorbias especially Wulfenii has lovely acid green bracts in spring and last ages in vase. Sear ends as it oouzes a milky sap that can cause skin irritation so it is worth wearing gloves if you are prone. Looks good with zingy tulips like Tulipa ‘Ballerina’ and brightens up Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’.
- Cotinus (Smokebush)
- Carex Evergold lovely spikes of yellow/green foliage that arch out of arrangements.
- Pittosporum tenuifolium has lovely small dark green leaves that last 2 or more weeks.
- Miscanthus sinensis – the leaves can be looped over to provide height & form to an arrangement.
- Euonymus varities last for ages and gives a back drop for the flowers.